Your arrival time to the video store on a Friday night could make a break your entire weekend. The earlier you could convince mom and dad to grab some rentals and a pizza, the better your evening would be. Showing up around 4:00pm gave you free reign of any video game you could want, but getting there at 8:00pm meant you were pushing other late comers aside just to end up with a Barney game. At that point in the evening, it didn’t matter what you scored just as long as you didn’t come home empty handed.
You don’t always get to choose your cards in life, just as you didn’t always get your first pick for game rentals. Here are 6 Sega games you rented by accident.
6 – Ex-Mutants
Admittedly, I fell for this one a few times. The comic book scene was exploding in the early 90s, so you were charting into unknown territory if it wasn’t a well-known franchise like X-Men or Batman. Games based on those characters were usually gone by sunset, while gambles like Ex-Mutants collected dust on shelves. I always rationalized the title as clearly X-Men inspired and the screen shots on the box even looked like other superhero games. It’s not until twenty minutes through reading the opening dialogue of the game that I started to question how exciting a game with people who used to be mutants is.
5 – The Great Waldo Search
The Great Waldo Search was in a love/hate category. The game was not very challenging, even in expert mode, so there was a gratifying sense of accomplishment for beating a game in a weekend. This is the love part. The hate part came from realizing it was still Friday night and you had already beat the game in expert mode. So much for Saturday and Sunday!
4 – Barney’s Hide & Seek Game
If society ever needed to put forth one title to demonstrate that talking in 16-bit video games should have been a crime, it would be Barney’s Hide & Seek Game. He’s already incoherently babbling on the first frame of the start screen. Even if you rented this game as a joke, the laughs were on you because it was so bad it wasn’t funny… it was just painful.
3 – Wacky Worlds
Suspicions should have been high any time a Sega game featuring Sonic on the box was still around in the evening. After all, I had already fallen for Sonic Spinball on more than one occasion. Wacky Worlds was the blue guy’s response to Mario Paint. The game even included a mouse, but it didn’t help. Every drawing still came out looking worse than 90s MS Paint bitmaps.
2 – Hard Drivin’
Like Waldo, Hard Drivin’ was a game that didn’t take long to win (or lose for that matter). If you were hoping for a straight-forward racing game, you weren’t going to find much fun in Hard Drivin’. The secret to this game is knowing the fun is what you make of it. Running off-road from the main course let to hilarious instant replays of crashing into cows and oncoming traffic.
1 – Art Alive
If Wacky Worlds was like MS Paint, Art Alive was like a dollar store coloring book that had loading times. ToeJam & Earl were name dropped on the back of the box copy, but were not even playable characters; just simple stamps to drop on pre-made backgrounds any six year old could have drawn. I think one of the other stamp people was inspired by the main guy from Fern Gully. Art Alive is also the only Sega game I ever played that had distorted music. The instant the audio starts, it sounds like it was programmed at volume levels greater than the console could output.